Now With Cassock and Surplice

At 7:30 last evening, Miss Mussel started a new venture: church choir. Although she has not been a chorister since primary school and even then only in a non-audition school choir, the idea has been a fixture on the the “Things To Do Sometime In Future” list for quite a while.

On the whole, Miss Mussel finds instrumental works to be more appealing than choir or opera. This has caused many debates at the holiday dinner table as other family members have the opposite view. The one exception is the English church choir.

From 2003-2006, Miss Mussel attended Manchester Cathedral and very quickly became enchanted by the mass repertoire and even more so, by that sound. It was a whole new world.

Hearing the mass settings in context was extraordinary, as was the English hymnody, but the most captivating of all was the Psalm singing. Some weeks it was unison chant but most were in four parts. The way the chord progression intersected with the rhythms of the speech was fascinating and somehow, knowing that the text had been sung for hundreds of years lent a reassuring gravitas to the whole procedure.

Unfortunately, there are no Manchester Cathedral Choir videos on the intertubes. An audio sample is available here. For the moment, we’ll have to settle for Gloucester Cathedral.

Yes, it is a Christmas tune but it was the only video where the cameras captured the atmosphere rather than wandering annoyingly around to various paintings and architectual details. Also, there are roughly 40 days left til Advent, so it’s not THAT premature.

Ok…yes it is.

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